James: Cole's The Man

David James says that Joe Cole is improving in leaps and bounds in his central midfield role.

The Hammers goalkeeper has been impressed by what he has seen in the last two games since Glenn Roeder felt the time was right to switch him to the heart of the battle, and says: "Fair play to Joe - he has looked like the player everyone was talking about a few years ago.

"In the last two games the thing that pleases me more than anything is that is that he has been given the ball under pressure and taken the ball out of that situation whereas in the past, not having a go at him, he'd have maybe tried to take someone else on.

"Joe is a young lad trying to get into an England position after injury and therefore a bit of personal anxiety this season.

"He is showing a lot of maturity and I was going to say he is looking a million dollars - but that's not too much in football now, is it?"

David is still working on the defensive unit since making a belated entry to the season, and he explains: "It doesn't take three or four weeks to get into playing football but what takes time is understanding and communication - and I lost my voice on Saturday.

"If Manchester United had scored last week we wouldn't have won the game, and we have to keep a tight ship as we are not beating teams three or four nil.

"I said to Tomas and Christian I'm going to shout at them all the time if they are doing things wrong - it's nothing personal, but fair play to them, they are not begrudging that.

"I wouldn't go so far as to say they are enjoying it, but they appreciate it and it's going well. There are still a lot of improvements to make, but that is all part of the task."

He has mixed feelings about the draw with Arsenal and says: "We gained two positions last week but we are disappointed that we didn't win the game to get higher in the league.

"Those last two games really stuck out more than anything after the Villa match, and if we if we hadn't performed the table would look completely different, and confidence would not be something mentioned too much.

"Arsenal are a good side and when Bergkamp hit the bar we didn't hold the back line properly as a team.

"I had it covered but I'm not going to claim credit for saving it; I got the faintest of touches though I didn't change the flight of the ball."

One newspaper gave Thierry Henry man of the match against the Gunners but David says: "Thierry Henry was more than contained. Christian did really well and so did Tomas, and in the game before we didn't concede against the top scorers in the Premiership.

"We should be disappointed we didn't win on Saturday but that's football."